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Maria Salazar-Roa

Investigadora del Programa Ramón y Cajal, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

I obtained my Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 2011 and since then I have worked in several institutions, both in national centres (Autónoma and Complutense Universities, CNIO) and in foreign institutions, such as MRC Protein Phosphorylation Unit (Dundee, UK) and Harvard Medical School (Boston, US).
During my scientific career, I have published 38 papers, most of them in the first quartile of their category, with more than 8000 citations so far and h-index of 25; I have participated in more than 20 International Conferences and importantly, during my entire career, I have been always funded by competitive grants, obtained from FEBS, US Fulbright, MINECO, CAM and AECC, among others. Since 2014, I led at CNIO a new research line focused on stem cell biology and how to optimize the differentiation potential of stem cells. Part of this project has been recently published in The EMBO Journal (where I am first and co-corresponding author) and has led to a patent, registered at the European Patent Office on May 2017, aimed to apply those approaches on regenerative medicine. In this line, I was awarded- as Project Leader- by two prestigious Innovation Programs in 2019, from Spain and US (Caixa Impulse and MIT IDEA2 Global) to develop our technology one step forward.
In August 2020, I started my own research group as Junior PI (Advanced Therapies and Cancer Lab-, as part of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department in the Faculty of Biology, at Complutense University of Madrid. Recently, I was awarded as Ramón y Cajal 2020, to impulse my scientific career as Team Leader.
I am accredited by ANECA as “Profesor Contratado Doctor” since 2011, supervised two Doctoral Thesis and eight Master students to date. Besides, I enthusiastically participate in a number of science divulgation activities, nationally and internationally; as member of the MIT GCCL; as funder and coordinator of the initiative ELEVEN (Evolving, Learning and Venturing), devoted to STEAM women empower and guidance at university; as evaluator in scientific assessment committees, such as ANEP (Spain) since 2015 and Research Grants Council (China) since 2017 and I am referee for different journals since 2012 and member of the editorial board in Frontiers in Oncology. Finally, just for the record, I have had a cumulative 2 years of career disruption since the completion of my PhD, being the first maternity leave from 26/09/2012 and the second maternity leave from 28/09/2016.
Therefore, since my PhD I have worked in several international and strongly-respected institutions, both in Spain and outside our frontiers, always supported by highly competitive and international awards, fellowships and contracts.
Besides, other fundamental aspects of my career are my commitment to education and training, to technological transferability of my research, social engagement and scientific dissemination. Those aspects are exponentially growing, even more especially since 2019, being also all our activity registered and updated on our website:
Now, at this stage of my scientific career, my goal is to evolve as group leader, surrounded - as I am- by outstanding mentors and scientific collaborators, and encouragingly training young motivated researchers as PhD and Master students.


  • 2020–present
    Investigadora Ramón y Cajal, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad Complutense de Madrid